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August 21, 2009 / theoldsilly

Looking Through the Window

I don’t do email forwards anymore. Not since the Google Nazis falsely ID’d me a few months ago as a spammer and zapped my blogs and all my google accounts into the Blue Nowhere. But a friend sent me this and I felt it worthy of posting. So here’s your daily dose of Free Spirit from the Old Silly.


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation, all of the many life’s journey musings.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look in ages at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

Today is a gift, that is why it is called ‘The Present.’

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Leave a Comment
  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Aug 21 2009 7:26 am

    Fantastic story, Marvin. It reminds me of that short story “The Last Leaf”–do you remember that one?

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. spunkonastick / Aug 21 2009 9:25 am

    That is a wonderful story. And that is our purpose in life – to make other’s lives better and more fulfilling.

    It is a gift. Wise words from Kung Fu Panda!

  3. Stanley Berber / Aug 21 2009 9:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this. It is inspiring and DOES make you think and count your blessings.

  4. Tracy Haller / Aug 21 2009 9:32 am

    What an amazing email/blog. It really makes you think when your getting stressed about something small and insignificant that those things dont really matter much in the long run.

  5. Karen Walker / Aug 21 2009 9:45 am

    Totally love this story. It says so much that is true. I especially like the gift/present. Present. I spent so much time living “unconsciously” it’s a joy to be fully present.

    • theoldsilly / Aug 21 2009 9:52 am

      Thanks, Karen – yes it is truly a “present” to be alive and the ALL is IN the present!

  6. malsburymichelle / Aug 21 2009 10:20 am

    What a wonderful story. Many a blind person has made an impression on the world of sight! Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

  7. Lynn, The Story Woman / Aug 21 2009 10:39 am

    What a great story to read first thing this morning. Thank you, Marvin. We (most of us, anyway) are blind to so much of what goes on each day in the present – this story was an inspiration to me look for more in what I think I see, especially in the “mundane.” Made me think blindness is in the eye of the beholder.

    • theoldsilly / Aug 21 2009 10:47 am

      Blindness is in the eye of the beholder – great line, Lynn!

  8. unwriter1 / Aug 21 2009 10:40 am

    i have read this before and have always liked it. I may use it for the inspirational minute at toastmasters someday.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Galen Kindley / Aug 21 2009 10:41 am

    This is a great example of how powerful a short story can be. It even has a surprise twist at the end. I have no short story skills, none. I think those who can do the short story art form are just really talented. Thanks for sharing, Marv.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

    • theoldsilly / Aug 21 2009 10:48 am

      I’m with you, Galen – writing a good short story is a special talent, a special art form.

  10. Connie Arnold / Aug 21 2009 10:53 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with a great lesson, Marvin! I tweeted your link. Looking for beauty to share with others (even from your own imagination) makes your life more beautiful too!

  11. quirkyloon / Aug 21 2009 10:58 am

    “There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.”

    So true! I love that statement.

    I was just telling my son that one sign of being mature is thinking of others BEFORE ourselves.

    Great story and thanks so much for sharing it with us this day.

  12. yvonne lewis / Aug 21 2009 11:03 am

    Thanks for telling this wonderful story, It made me realise how we take our sight for granted also the gift of

    making others less fortunate than ourselves hope for the future.

    I feel quite humbled at this story.


  13. Cactus Annie / Aug 21 2009 12:49 pm

    Wow what a beautiful and touching story. thanks for sharing this, Marv – definitely has me feeling blessed today … and every day!

  14. Marylee Willson-Walker / Aug 21 2009 12:50 pm

    Lynn..I agree with your comment that we tend to not live in the present…How often do we “stop and smell the roses?”…After reading this story first thing this morning, I headed out to an appointment. After taking the last step off my porch, I stopped. I felt the wind on my face, listened to the birds sing and then looked up at the blue sky. I… feel blessed…blessed to have this day and blessed to have wonderful people in my life. Thanks, Marvin, for sharing this story. You touched a life, mine!

  15. Jane Kennedy Sutton / Aug 21 2009 1:49 pm

    What a terrific story – brought a tear to my eye even.

  16. ReformingGeek / Aug 21 2009 5:21 pm

    I love that story. You never know how you will be called upon to be of service to others…

  17. Heidi M. Thomas / Aug 21 2009 8:01 pm

    Wow. This says it all. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. Patricia Stoltey / Aug 22 2009 12:44 am

    I love this story, Marvin. Thank you.

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